Cost is still keeping districts from boosting broadband speeds

Cost remains the biggest hurdle for schools trying to increase broadband connectivity speeds for students, according to CoSN’s 2017 Annual Infrastructure Survey.

The majority of school districts–85 percent, to be exact–meet the Federal Communications Commission’s short-term goal for broadband connectivity of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to the survey.

The survey collected feedback from 445 large, small, urban, and rural school district leaders nationwide and examines the current state of technology infrastructure in U.S. K-12 districts.…Read More

Why, and how, warranties should guide edtech purchasing

School technology leaders are faced with the buying decisions of products for an entire school or district. These types of edtech purchases are a sizeable investment and, unfortunately, funding can be wasted on products that are overpriced and underperform–diverting school budgets that could be better used to benefit students in other ways.

The first and most obvious factor in the search for the right technology is to decide which product will be most cost-effective. Durability of the technology is the next major influencer.

When evaluating a district’s edtech needs there are several factors to consider, including product warranties and life cycle of the product. Consumer brands typically do not offer warranties for school use, and this is where differentiation between consumer and commercial devices comes into play.…Read More

3 ways a new E-rate funded technology is helping schools save

As schools near completion of their E-Rate filing for this year, one game-changing E-rate technology has the potential to save schools precious time and money. The technology–a new network design concept called Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)–allows schools and other organizations to replace their current network hardware such as routers and firewalls with a single, multipurpose device—while moving the “brains” of the network to a central software console.

This emerging network model offers a number of potential benefits to users, including less hardware and cost, simplified management and greater flexibility to deploy new services. When bundling Ethernet service with virtual routers, schools may be able to use Category 1 E-rate benefits to achieve significant savings.*

How does NFV Save Schools Time and Money?…Read More

Kensington launches new cases for Chromebooks, iPads

Kensington, a worldwide provider of desktop productivity and mobility solutions for IT, business and home office professionals, has released three new products for the education industry: Kensington LS510 Portfolio for 11.6” Chromebook, Tablet Projection Stand, and BlackBelt 2nd Degree Rugged Case with Screen Protector for iPad Air 2. Educators and students alike can use these desktop and mobile accessories to enhance their productivity and provide protection for their learning tools.

“When it comes to education in the digital age, the right tech tools and accessories can truly enhance the educational experience,” said Brian Knauss, Global Product Manager, Kensington. “Armed with these new easy-to-use, cost-effective Kensington educational solutions and supplies, educators and students will be better able to manage, secure, and protect their electronic investments whether on campus or off.”

Kensington’s new products include:…Read More

Alan November to host student engagement webinar

Students are not engaged in the classroom like they should be, and educators are searching for ways to bridge this gap to create the best learning environment for each of their students.

Modern technologies are making it easier to engage students, but choosing the right technologies to support student engagement in the classroom is a difficult task, and one with an important goal: creating learner-centered environments in which students can thrive.

On Thursday, 8/25 at 1 PM EST (12 PM CST, 10 AM PST), Alan November will give a live presentation on Student Engagement.…Read More

Brightspace Excellence Awards highlight innovation in online learning

This year’s Brightspace Excellence Awards, announced at FUSION 2016 by global learning technology provider D2L, recognized the promise of online learning and its ability to connect more and more people to high-quality educational programs.

Faculty dedicated to helping students learn online created robust online environments and high-quality tools to help students succeed in their online learning endeavors.

This year’s crop of winners demonstrated progress and innovation in student and teacher engagement, student retention, and teaching and learning efficiencies that resulted in cost savings.…Read More

Polycom enables Skype for Business with any video platform

New release lets users connect using Skype for Business when they are on different platforms

Polycom,  has removed the complexity of connecting multiple video systems from different vendors the Polycom RealConnect solution for Skype for Business. Now, participants using any video vendor, from Skype for Business, to Polycom and Cisco, and on any device, from voice to immersive telepresence suites, can join a unified meeting with one simple click.

Customers simply want communication technologies to work together seamlessly and cost effectively. Until the Polycom RealConnect solution, Skype for Business video conferencing users could not meet or share content with participants using other video platforms. The result was a frustrating and difficult process for end users.

Polycom RealConnect technology eliminates this barrier by making everything work together and provides each end user with the familiar communication experience they’ve grown accustomed to. There are no requirements to learn complex dialing codes or new platform behaviors, resulting in more time spent on getting business done and less on learning a new service.…Read More

Canon adds laser model to interchangeable lens projectors

New laser projector features up-to-8000 lumens and 7 interchangeable lenses

Canon U.S.A.introduces the LX-MU800Z, the company’s first single-chip DLP Projector with a Laser Phosphor Light Source which delivers at maximum brightness 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Also announced was the REALiS WUX450ST Pro AV LCOS Projector. The newest short throw projector in Canon’s non-interchangeable lens product line, the REALiS WUX450ST combines native WUXGA resolution (1920 x 1200), 4500 lumens of brightness, and Canon’s LCOS technology with AISYS-enhancement to project bright, highly detailed/contrasted and color accurate images.

Additional key features on the LX-MU800Z projector include native WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution, up-to-8000 lumens, a dynamic contrast ratio up to 10,500:1, and seven interchangeable lens options with motorized lens shift for installation flexibility. The projector’s combination of a long-life laser light source, sealed filter-free system, and wide array of advanced features make the LX-MU800Z projector ideal for a range of applications where high image quality and minimized maintenance are critical, including higher education and corporate environments, as well as houses of worship, entertainment, and trade shows/exhibitions.…Read More

13 apps that promote higher-order thinking standards

These mobile apps go way beyond games

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly common in schools because they cost so much less than computers—especially since so many students are willing to bring their own devices to school.

While mobile devices, tablets in particular, have been commonly used to reinforce math and reading skills through the use of games, they can also be used to promote the development of higher level skills and knowledge included in the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S): creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; research and information fluency; and critical thinking and problem solving. Here are a handful of high-quality apps that reinforce these skills and promote others.

Writing skills

Students who resist typical writing instruction with pencil and paper may blossom as authors when given the opportunity to compose electronically on computers and tablets. Some that struggle with the fine motor skills necessary for producing legible print are liberated by the ability to type. Although pressing letters on a flat screen without being able to feel them may be awkward for an adult accustomed to typing on a keyboard, students that learn to type on these devices when they’re young are likely to be as skilled on them as they are on a traditional keyboard.…Read More

These are the 5 most in-demand K-12 languages

Rosetta Stone releases a list of the most popular U.S., global language learning programs

Foreign language skills are increasingly important for students to have as they enter college or the workforce, and technology-based programs have made learning new languages easier for students.

“As shifting demographics, globalization and the adoption of cost-efficient technology-based products continue to increase, so does the need and demand for world languages,” said Judy Verses, president of technology-based learning solutions provider Rosetta Stone’s Global Enterprise & Education Division. “Equipping students with language enables them to differentiate themselves from other candidates in a competitive job market and, ultimately, positions them for professional success.”

Verses noted ELL (English Language Learning) students represent the fastest growing segment of the K-12 population and it is predicted that this segment will grow to 40 percent by 2030.…Read More